There are universal facts of happiness, Tal Ben-Shahard said, such as that “people need a sense of meaning of purpose, physical exercise or movement is good for us and relationships are central to happiness.” Culturally, “what’s true in the US is not always true in China or India or even Germany,” which is why his study of happiness includes history and anthropology, among other disciplines. « Equating happiness with pleasure ultimately leads to frustration and unhappiness ». Instead, he defines happiness as “the experience of wholeperson wellbeing,” or “the experience of wholebeing.” This more holistic sense of wellness focuses on both the internal and external well-being, or « SPIRE, » a strategy created by Ben-Shahar and Megan McDonough, co-founders of Wholebeing Institute. The acronym represents five parts of the « wholebeing »: « spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational and emotional ». But when it comes to the individual, Ben-Shahar said, research won’t cut it. “What we need instead is me-search,” he said.